Through the Lens of Innovation

Olympus Corporation of the Americas
Westborough, MA

As their 100-year anniversary approached, precision technology leaders Olympus sought to consolidate their Littleton, Southborough, and Waltham, MA locations into one highly collaborative, highly advanced headquarters in the Town of Westborough. The project, which connects Olympus’ previously separated in-house expertise, enhances their Research and Development (R&D) processes for medical devices. Additionally, it provides Olympus with the tools to create a cutting-edge customer experience around the medical professionals they train and the products they exhibit.

SMMA’s design team guided the client through several changes of scope within the headquarters, while also helping them understand the possibilities presented by a new location. The design incorporates the added complexities of significant lab and manufacturing space and a variety of public amenities that mirror offerings found at the Olympus America Corporate Headquarters in Center Valley, PA. These amenities include a cafeteria, coffee bar, flexible dining area, fitness center, and a full-service daycare.

SMMA's base-building team worked on several concepts for the new headquarters, including potential designs that supported future expansion through an addition to the main structure on its east side.

Designed for People

The design team made clever use of colors and materials inspired by Olympus' True to Life campaign, which focuses heavily on people and lifestyle. Home-like wood finishes are used throughout, contrasted by blue glass behind the reception desk representative of the larger Olympus brand. Graphic designers also developed a custom pattern system, stemming from the very aperture lenses made by Olympus. These patterns, alongside color-coded elevator lobbies and themed corridors, help maintain visual continuity throughout each floor.

Olympus Westborough Lobby.

Elevating the Customer Experience

The entire first floor of the headquarters is comprised of large glass walls, lending visibility into the interiors from the outside. Once inside, employees and visitors are immediately engaged in a catered customer service route. Adjacent to a sleek, white reception desk, a large experience wall embodies modern design elements. Part of the wall displays brand messaging through the company's Core Value Wheel, while the other incorporates illuminated abstractions of Olympus' technology: aperture blades. On the same side, a colorful two-story string installation helps call attention to the activity within the lab and R&D spaces on the second floor.

Continuing through the first floor, visitors discover a full-service daycare, fitness center, cafeteria, and both dining and training areas. The latter are comprised of adaptable seating types, thus attracting employees throughout the day as collaborative gathering spots. Each feature was expertly coordinated and located among SMMA’s base-building architects, interior designers, and engineers to shape the building structure around programming needs.

Olympus Corporation of the Americas headquarters in Westborough designed by SMMA.

Showcasing Science

To make room for the amenities, data center, and prototype machine shop on the first floor, the building’s lab and R&D spaces reside on the second floor. These flexible dry and biologics labs, supporting Olympus’ surgical functions and research, were informed by a series of programming workshops between the design team and the client. Specialized spaces, including a mock operating room and training area for doctors, orbit an enlarged atrium opening overlooking the first floor lobby.

A New Office Standard

The upper floors of the headquarters are dedicated to office space, of which SMMA helped Olympus create a new workplace standard. The design team increased the ratios of meeting spaces to private offices to reinforce an open office environment and heighten collaboration. Environmental graphics, which celebrate Olympus’ core values, remind employees of what drives and empowers them.


Accounting for necessary acoustical and privacy needs, they also implemented strategic and flexible furniture arrangements. The overall design and engineering behind the offices ensure that the rooms and workstations are of equal size, making it easy to modify the quantity of workstations among the collaboration spaces as departments grow.

Engineered for Excellence

The new headquarters boasts of energy efficiency efforts: it utilizes the latest LED technology to perform about 30% higher than standard energy code requirements and makes use of light dimmers and daylight sensors to conserve energy use. Its systems are flexible by nature to support the varying office, lab, and amenity space code requirements.

Electrical systems within two specific areas were further adapted to address unique challenges. Due to the use of large glass walls throughout the labs, ceiling utility panels were installed on a symmetrical grid. In the building’s data center, a plug-in bus duct system was installed, which demounts and moves different devices. Both systems can be modified for the future needs of their respective spaces.

Mechanically, each lab space was provided with complete supplemental systems to fulfill temperature, humidity, exhaust, and safety requirements. Similar supplemental systems were also provided for the building’s first floor amenities, such as the daycare and kitchen. Additionally, a lab waste system, including a pH neutralization system, was implemented to serve the second-floor lab fixtures. Small Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems were also provided for pure water needs.

“Every conversation has been made easy by SMMA’s availability and expertise. There is no better way to exemplify the Olympus brand and our company values than this incredible new building on our 100th Anniversary.”

Steve Wereley

Project Manager, OCA